We just finished up from the news conference introducing Paul Molitor as the 13th manager in Twins franchise history and just the third since 1986. Here are five takeaways from the presser:
1) Molitor has clear expectations that he wants to be competitive immediately. He talked on multiple occasions about teams making quick turnarounds and talked about things on the 2014 Twins — despite their 92 losses, the fourth consecutive season with at least that many — that he liked. The money quote: “I’m coming here to win.” He said that while he’s excited like many fans are about the potential for some of the prospects in the pipeline, he is more concerned with the here and now. Terry Ryan echoed that sentiment. “We’re ready to win here,” the GM said. “We’ve got to get going.” Whether that happens will likely be a function of how much the pitching improves more than the hiring of Molitor, but a new approach can influence change.
2) Ryan was emphatic that he spoke with Joe Maddon and that he even told Molitor about it as the process was unfolding. We’re not entirely sure how serious those talks got, but Ryan said it three times so there you have it.
3) Molitor was asked how much he will incorporate advanced statistics and the kind of modern information that is readily available. He talked favorably of defensive shifts — he was credited last year with moving the Twins in that direction as a coach — and said he will use as much information as he finds useful while also being cautious not to overburden players with too much data.
4) One thing that gets mentioned a lot is that great players have a hard time being successful managers because they haven’t done the little things to be successful. Twins closer Glen Perkins, who was in attendance along with Joe Mauer, had this to say on that front: “I think what made Paul Molitor a Hall of Famer was not just the raw ability. … He did all those little things that added up to a lot more. … He worked at a lot of things. I think those are traits that will make him a good manager, and in this case I don’t think it’s a huge concern.”
5) The biggest intrigue now, of course, is who winds up on Molitor’s staff. Both he and Ryan indicated there have already been discussions and that they will intensify as quickly as this afternoon. So stay tuned on that.
With a lot of talk during Monday’s news conference centering on deep passes being a little too deep with Teddy Bridgewater under center, our conversation with head coach Mike Zimmer inevitably shifted to the chemistry between the rookie quarterback and second-year wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Patterson had just 13 catches in Bridgewater’s five starts, and six came in last week’s overtime win over the Buccaneers. Patterson was targeted seven times yesterday against the Redskins, including that first-quarter bomb that somehow fell incomplete. But Patterson caught just one of those passes for only nine yards.
So today Zimmer was asked if something was keeping Bridgewater and Patterson from connecting.
“Yes, I’ll leave it at that,” Zimmer said. After a few seconds of silence, he continued. “It’s nothing between the two. We’re not precise enough in all areas. … Guys have to make sure they’re in the right places at all times.”
Patterson was raw as a route-runner coming out of college, having played just one year at the Div. I level. He is still struggling to create separation, especially against man coverage. And apparently he is not running the right routes at times, or is running the right routes but not as the proper depth, which is also a big deal.
Zimmer did say that Patterson “did some good things yesterday” in the win over the Redskins, such as getting open on a few plays where the ball went to another receiver.
“That happens as receivers. I think one of the great things that we’re doing, honestly, is we’re spreading the ball around. It’s not just one guy catching the ball,” Zimmer said, adding. “This is never going to be a one-man show.”